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Rethink Waste

Reduce Food Waste

This page contains information about City initiatives that help reduce food waste, and tips for rethinking and reducing food waste at home to help contribute to a greener Barrie and planet.

The objective of the third pillar of the City's Circular Economy Framework, Consume, is to rethink the role that food can play in supporting a circular economy.

It's estimated that more than half of Canada's food supply is wasted annually and $49.5 billion of that wasted food is avoidable. Food is wasted from farm to plate, through production, processing, distribution, retail, food-service and at home. Source:

There's many small actions you can take to reduce your food waste at home.

City Initiatives & Programs

The below City initiatives and programs have helped reduce food waste in Barrie, and support the circular economy framework.

Bi-Weekly Garbage Pickup

In January 2015, Barrie households serviced under the municipal curbside collection program started to receive two-bag/can garbage pickup every other week instead of 1 bag/can weekly. Unlimited organics and recycling continued to be picked up weekly.

This change, accompanied by City promotion and educational tools, encouraged residents to better sort materials and use their green bins, thereby reducing the amount of food waste placed in the garbage.

A comparison of 2015 to 2014 revealed a 52% increase in curbside organics tonnages; 16% decrease in curbside garbage tonnages; and 3% increase in curbside recycling tonnages. Stats based on tonnage tracking at the landfill and reported diversion data from the collection contractor.

Community Garden Program

The City's community garden program provides City-owned land for community gardening, where Barrie residents meet to grow and care for select fruits, vegetables, and flowers. The food grown in these gardens bypasses the production, processing, distribution, and retail sectors, each of which produce food waste. People who participate in community gardens are passionate about what they are growing, and work to ensure that what they work to produce is used and not wasted.

Curbside Organics Collection Program

The City's organics curbside collection program helps divert everyday household organic waste from the landfill. Unlimited organics (food waste in green bins) are collected weekly. Collection organics are transported to a specially designed processing facility where microscopic bacteria digest the material and the result is rich and valuable compost.  

Multi-Residential Organics Collection Program

In January 2017, the City of Barrie began the implementation of a multi-residential organics collection program in apartments, condominiums, and townhouse complexes throughout Barrie. The program was phased in to eligible multi-residential properties between 2017 and 2019.

Ways to Reduce Food Waste

Diverting food waste to compost is better than sending it to the landfill, but preventing food from being wasted in the first place is an even better way to lessen​ your environmental impact.

Even if discarded food makes its way to your green bin, the water and other resources required to grow or manufacture the food may be wasted with every discarded food item.

Use Your Green Bin!

In 2018, 29.60% of household garbage in Barrie was material that could/should have gone in the green bin (Source: City of Barrie 2018 Waste Audit). Please place all food waste in your green bin so organics don't go to the landfill, where they produce methane gas.

Grow Your own Food

Grow fruits and vegetables on your property or get involved in one of Barrie's community gardens! Help promote sustainable agriculture and reduce food transportation impacts while improving the ecology of the area.

Consider a Backyard Compost

Composting your food can provide many benefits to your garden soil, and can help reduces water demands of plants and trees. Learn about composting.

Change Your Habits

Habit changing tips:

  • Plan meals and make grocery lists. Buying foods you may already have at home can ultimately become another source of waste.
  • Store fruits and vegetables properly so they last longer.
  • Get creative with leftovers. See Recipes - Love Food Hate Waste Canada
  • Help get food off grocery store shelves before expiration dates. Check out the Flashfood app
The above resources were compiled by City staff in an effort to provide helpful information to Barrie residents. Linked resources are not necessarily affiliated with the corporation of the City of Barrie.





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